Crookes' Maltese cross tube

1878-1888 in London
Charles H. Gimingham
Charles H. Gimingham
William Crookes

Crookes' Maltese cross tube

The ramifications of William Crookes' work on cathode rays are enormous. Building on Crookes' seminal research Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-rays in 1895 and John Joseph Thomson discovered the electron in 1897. The same year, Ferdinand Braun used a form of Crookes tube as a measuring instrument, the direct antecedent of the modern cathode ray tubes found in televisions sets and VDUs. From about 1881, skills in glass-blowing and vacuum technique developed in Crookes' laboratory helped Joseph Swan put his electric filament lamp into production. This ushered in the age of electric lighting and led to advances in radio communication and electronics.

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Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

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Related people


Electricity and Magnetism
Object Number:
electrical discharge tubes
Sir William Crookes

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